McCormack welcomes review into backpacker tax

The Nationals’ Federal Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, has today welcomed the Government’s announcement that a review will be conducted into the backpacker tax.

The review will examine the application of the non-permanent resident tax rate to backpackers, which was due to commence on 1 July 2016. Changes to the tax arrangements for working holiday makers will be deferred by six months pending the outcome of the review.

Mr McCormack said the announcement of the review showed the Government had listened to the concerns of farmers and small businesses as well as Nationals’ MPs who had advocated for a review into the tax.

“I am delighted the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, has listened to and acted on the concerns I and my Nationals’ colleagues have raised about the effect this tax would have on farmers and holiday workers in the Riverina and Central West,” Mr McCormack said.

“Farms throughout the region rely on holiday makers as an essential source of labour, particularly during harvest season, to ensure they can get their produce to market.

“The Nationals in Government have lobbied hard to ensure this measure, which Riverina and Central West farmers have expressed serious concerns about, is examined thoroughly to ensure they aren’t unduly affected.”

The review will examine the broad range of issues relating to workforce shortages faced by the agriculture and tourism industries.

It will report back to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, by mid-October, with changes to take effect from 1 January 2017.

Mr McCormack said Riverina and Central West farmers would be given the opportunity to contribute to the review of taxation arrangements for working holiday makers.

“A wide range of stakeholders will be consulted as part of the review, which will consider issues such as short and long-term agricultural seasonal labour needs, regulatory imposts

for employers and opportunities to expand the supply of seasonal workers to Riverina and Central West farms and small businesses,” Mr McCormack said.

Cristy Houghton